Game Setup is a phase that occurs before the game begins. Some powers are used during Game Setup to create initial conditions, such as Miser's second hand or Tick-Tock's countdown timer.

In Game Setup, players are given their planets and ships, and put four ships on each planet. Next, players choose their aliens - the exact selection method varies between editions and house rules. Finally, players are dealt their initial hands.

Phases of an encounter
Mayfair AnyPhase(Mayfair)GameSetup(Mayfair) Regroup(Mayfair)Destiny(Mayfair)Launch(Mayfair)Invitations(Mayfair)Alliance(Mayfair)Planning(Mayfair)Reveal(Mayfair)Discard(Mayfair)NextTurn(Mayfair)
CEO Any Phase Start TurnRegroupDestinyLaunchAlliancePlanningRevealResolution
FFG AnyPhase(FFG)(off)GameSetup(FFG)(on) StartTurn(FFG)(off)Regroup(FFG)(off)Destiny(FFG)(off)Launch(FFG)(off)Alliance(FFG)(off)Planning(FFG)(off)Reveal(FFG)(off)Resolution(FFG)(off)